With the emergence of the internet some decades back, many things moved house from their physical form and booked residence in this vast virtual world. Among these many things is the game of poker. On January 1st 1998, the first online poker game was dealt. This was the birth of the online poker sites.
Planet Poker was the very first online poker site, and it was founded by Mike ”Mad Genius” Caro. This pioneer poker site still stands today, although it stopped taking real money bets from March 2007 after a UIGEA debacle. One thing that Planet Poker should be proud of is that the 5% rake rate that was set by them is still what the, now expansive industry, uses.
By the end of 1998, the industry had grown a lot and was raking in millions of dollars. This is despite a few setbacks, such as slow servers that caused connectivity problems, and a network technology that was still growing. There was also an introduction of Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (IGPA), which, if it had been passed, would have prohibited websites from offering online gambling to US citizens. Luckily, it did not see the light of day.
Come 1999, Paradise Poker was launched, and took the top spot from Planet Poker. Their improved customer care, security and software is what set them apart from the rest. This led to a series of many other poker site launches, such as Poker Spot and Ultimate Bet in 2000.
2004 saw the removal of internet gambling advertisements by Yahoo and Google after the passing of the Wire Wager Act of 1961.
Throughout the years, online poker games have experienced a myriad of challenges, mostly from legislation, that have derailed the progress they have made over the years. The most notable law, however, came into light on April 15th 2011, a “Black Friday” for online gambling freedom. On this day, the US government seized domains of the largest online poker sites, which led to a lot of them closing shop.